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In what ways is Act 1 Scene 1 of "Educating Rita" a good introduction to the play's main characters and themes? Do you think Willy Russell has made his opening dramatic and entertaining?

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Introduction

Laura Martin. GCSE Coursework: In what ways is Act 1 Scene 1 of "Educating Rita" a good introduction to the play's main characters and themes? Do you think Willy Russell has made his opening dramatic and entertaining? "I'm coming in aren't I? It's that stupid bleedin' handle on the door!" is not the way in which we would expect a new university student to talk to a lecture she had never meet before, but as we later find out, Rita, is not a stereotypical student and her lecture, Frank, is not a stereotypical lecture. The play "Educating Rita" is based on an out going character, who has decided her working class lifestyle, does not fit who she is anymore. She believes she can change her life by achieving a higher education, to "fit in" with everyone else around her. Changing her name from Susan to Rita is her first step, she had now begun the great leap from the 26year old hairdresser, to a well spoken and well educated higher classed human being. This 1970's play displays the struggle and frustration of a woman, caught in the working class. Willy Russell uses wit, humour and his knowledge of that time period to create and develop his two characters as they travel through substantial changes in their lives. ...read more.

Middle

The play in two-handed, where the characters are placed into a room and the situation is left to develop. Willy Russell uses this technique so that his audience are kept amused and entertained, making his opening scenes dramatic. "Is it supposed to be erotic? I mean when he painted it do y' think he wanted to turn people on?" not exactly to words we would expect to hear from an upper class, well educated woman, which is exactly what Rita isn't. Her brash, abrupt, dramatic entrance of bursting through the door, instantly complaining about the state of Franks office, places her below Frank, displaying her status in the middle class. Willy Russell uses non-standard English for the parts of Rita, this is another way that Russell is able to show how different she is compared to Frank, Russell uses very formal language, spoken in a very knowledgeable way for the parts of Frank. Drawing a clear line between the two characters status in life. These two different styles of writing help Willy Russell to keep his opening snappy and entertaining. Russell is able to keep his audience on the edge of their seats by allowing them tiny pieces about the characters life's and backgrounds, keeping them attentive and focused on the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

Willy Russell is again using real life situation to involve his audience more closely in his play. In my opinion I think the audience would have gained a lot from this play, the simple story of a young woman who wanted more for herself than the people around her were able to give her. Frank a man generally unhappy with life until Rita was able to show him his true colours. Using the snappy, chatty atmosphere so early on in the play, Willy Russell was able to keep his fairly long opening; dramatic, entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Willy Russell's choice to uses such different characters to base his piece around, made one hundred percent sure that his audiences anxiety levels would have been raised as they became more and more intrigued, to find out if the characters would clash or get on like a house on fire. But I believe it was Willy Russell's pure talent that enabled him to places to different characters in the same scene and make it work. Using the two different styles of writing and such different character personalities creating an opening, which was not only dramatic and entertaining but will be remembered in history as the starting point for woman. ...read more.

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